#FIRSTLOOK: 2014 INSIDEOUT FESTIVAL PREVIEW
The 24th annual INSIDE OUT Film Festival runs in Toronto from Thursday, May 22, 2014 through Sunday, June 1, 2014. I was fortunate enough to preview some of this year’s Marquee Titles and want to tell you all about ’em!
THE NORMAL HEART
Many eyes will be on this exciting new HBO Film Adaptation of the TONY Award-winning Stageplay of the same name. Directed by American Horror Story and Glee Creator Ryan Murphy, the Drama is set in New York City, in the early ’80s at the onset of the AIDS epidemic – a time when many turned a blind eye to its seriousness.
At the center of it all is AIDS Activist Ned Weeks (Mark Ruffalo) in one of his most compelling performances to date. His passionate relationship with Lover Felix Turner (played beautifully by Matt Bomer) is the heart and soul of the Story, succumbing tragically too to the Disease. Julia Roberts as a wheelchair-bound Doctor Emma Brookner, is phenomenal in her plea to raise awareness of the far-reaching effects of the Disease not just as a “Gay Cancer”. Particularly memorable too is a poignant performance by Joe Mantello as Mickey Marcus in one pivotal moment in the Film.
We witness the internal struggles of this Activist Group, hindered by the pressures of having to deal with the spotlight in times when AIDS stigma was epidemic as the Disease itself. At moments its Screenplay restricted by the confines of the Small Screen, the Film manages to leave a lasting impression based on the strength of its performances. A definite major player this forthcoming Awards Season.
Friday, May 23, 2014 at TIFF BELL LIGHT BOX, 9:00 PM
Perhaps my favourite Film of the Festival, this Documentary centers around infamous gay New York Bank Robber John Wojtowicz, on whom the 1975 Film starring Al Pacino, Dog Day Afternoon was based. The unlikeliest of Heroes, Wojtowicz had robbed a bank brazenly in hopes of funding his Lover’s Sex Change.
Directors Alison Berg and Frank Keraudren takes ten years’ worth of footage and interviews with the Subject himself, his endearing Mother, Ex-Wife and multiple Lovers, painting a Portrait of a Man whose wrong choices would go on to change his life forever. We learn all about his ordeal in prison, what life was like leading-up to his 2006 death after a battle with Cancer. Although unconventional, Wojtowicz was ahead of his time in his unwavering stance on Gay Rights, inspiring others who felt marginalized and powerless.
And you’ll never believe what happened after his Lover’s Sex Change…
Saturday, May 31, 2014 at TIFF BELL LIGHT BOX, 4:00 PM
I ALWAYS SAID YES: THE MANY LIVES OF WAKEFIELD POOLE
How does a sweet, young Jacksonville Boy with the voice of an Angel and on the verge of Broadway Stardom, wind-up going-on to create some of the most iconic Gay Porn Films of all time? This Documentary, directed by Jim Tushinski, gives us an in-depth look at the rise of a fascinating Man of many talents, his struggles, disappointments and a behind-the-scenes look at how with little budget – even using his own apartment as a studio space, he would helm acclaimed and pioneering Films like Boys in the Sand and Bijou. Through candid interviews from others close to affected by his work, we learn about Poole and his bittersweet road to finding contentment.
Anyone who’s ever struggled in making their dream a reality will identify with some of the sentiments explored here in this well-made exploration of a Man who would go on to leave an indelible mark on the face of Gay Culture.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at TIFF Lightbox Cinema, 5:15 PM
MATT SHEPARD IS A FRIEND OF MINE
Beyond the news reports and 2002 Biographical Film (The Laramie Project) made about Matthew Shepard, but what really do we know about one of the most talked about Gay Public Figures of all time, whose impact posthumously would change the conversation about Gay Rights forever?
This Documentary made by Shepard‘s Friend Michele Josue and narrated by her also, hits home with touching, candid interviews with his Family and Friends. We learn about Shepard‘s own fears in coming to terms with his own sexuality – a revelation tragically which led eventually to his torture and murder. Josue gives us a deeply humanistic perspective to Shepard which ultimately makes us feel as though we knew him too.
Why would she revisit something so painful? “Guilt. Confusion for not being there. If the World knows our Matt – the real Matt – I know it wouldn’t be able to let him go either”, Josue says in her narration. A beautiful Piece which answers several questions many of us have long wanted to know.
Saturday, May 24, 2014 at TIFF Lightbox Cinema, 1:30 PM
It’s still not too late to order Tickets for this year’s Festival!
Click here to #SEEFORYOURSELF ticket availabilities and to order online!
(Photo credit: HBO)